Sondre Lerche – “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman” (Britney Spears Cover)

Every year, Sondre Lerche gives Stereogum readers a cover tune for Christmas. In recent years the Norwegian indie veteran has taken on recent pop hits by the likes of Ariana Grande (twice!), Selena Gomez, Drake, Sia, Miley Cyrus, and Beyoncé. For 2019, he’s flashing back to 2001, the same year he released his own debut album Faces Down.

This Friday, Lerche is releasing a four-song EP called Britney. It leads off with “Slip Into Character,” a Lerche original inspired by Britney Spears and the #freebritney movement and recorded in with the Silver Lake Chorus at a church in his new home base of LA. The tracklist is rounded out by three Spears covers, one of which is premiering here today as Lerche’s annual holiday offering.

“I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman” first appeared on Spears’ third album, which was also called Britney. (It was the album’s third single following “I’m A Slave 4 U” and “Overprotected.”) Lerche has given the song a gentle, gorgeous treatment with assistance from Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins, and Dominique Arciero. Here’s what he has to say about the project:

Hey there —

In stead of the usual annual holiday gift, I wanted to do something extra special this year. It’s already been ten years of this. Earlier this year I had enjoyed learning some Britney Spears songs for a very special occasion. I later played some of them with friends at Largo in LA, where I’ve been doing sporadic shows since I moved to LA last year. I’ve been taking time off from touring, to finish my new album and a book. Earlier this spring, after learning more about Britney and #freebritney, I had been inspired to write a song called “Slip Into Character” — in support of emancipation and happiness, within and beyond the spotlight. Just a little over a month ago we recorded that song in a Lithuanian church in LA, with The Silver Lake Chorus. Around the same time, in various home studios, we also captured recordings of “Everytime” (with Adam Arcuragi), “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman” (with Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins and Dominique Arciero), and my original Britney-favorite “Why Should I Be Sad” (with Wynne Bennett and Shruti Kumar). And that’s this year’s Christmas gift. From all of me, to all of you. Looking forward to sharing more music in 2020.

Thank you for your patience.

love,
SL

Hear Lerche’s “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman” cover below, where you can also watch the “Slip Into Character” video.

Britney is out 12/20.